Hammers on Tour
Catching up on daily life with Slaven Bilic’s squad during their pre-season training camp in Austria…
Back on familiar ground
There was a blast from the past for a few members of the West Ham United travelling party on Monday when they arrived at their training base in Bad Waltersdorf – the same location the Club used for a pre-season camp in July 2012, following their Championship Play-Off final victory over Blackpool a matter of weeks earlier. The visit was recorded with a team photo that still hangs proudly on the corridor wall near the dressing-rooms of the stadium. See if you can spot a youthful-looking Winston Reid and Mark Noble among the group…
The spirit of Carlton
Also present five years ago was Hammers cult hero Carlton Cole, fresh from scoring the opener and then creating the winner for Ricardo Vaz Te at Wembley. And the current squad were given a warm reminder of the popular striker as they sat down for a light meal upon arrival at the hotel on Monday afternoon, when the background music playing gently in the dining room suddenly threw out a rendition of Spandau Ballet’s Gold. We’ll always believe in his soul…!
Ginge in demand
The Hammers’ base may be in a remote part of south Austria, 60km from the nearest major town of Graz, but that didn’t prevent a few keen autograph hunters from welcoming the players upon their arrival at Bad Waltersdorf. The squad were only too happy to oblige – with James Collins a particular favourite among the locals, perhaps thanks to his heroics with Wales at the Euros last year.
Hammers legend and first team coach Julian Dicks was spotted casting an envious glance at the golf clubs and equipment on sale in the shop at the team’s hotel, which boasts an impressive 18-hole course nearby, nestled among the apple and walnut trees in the surrounding hills of Eastern Styria. Julian, who briefly turned professional after reaching a scratch handicap following his retirement from football in the late 90s, is sadly prevented from playing these days due to the long-term effects of his serious knee injuries.
Fletch on the stretch
Tuesday’s training programme began with an intensive morning circuit session, led by head of first team performance Miljenko Rak, and consisting of short repetitions across numerous stations, including suspension training – stretching the upper body and core using an elasticated bands attached to a fixed structure. For Ashley Fletcher, the frame of a goal provided the perfect aid. Now that’s what you call goal-hanging…!
The Hammers are training in the new 2017-18 Umbro training wear. Check out the range at our online store now!